Moviegoers were held captive by
The kidnapping action-thriller opened to a strong $50 million, according to an estimate from distributor
While the Neeson flick met the highest of industry projections, the stop-motion animated
Meanwhile, after an excellent start in limited release last weekend, the a capella comedy
It was a good weekend for Hollywood, as weekend ticket sales were up about 46% compared with the same three-day period last year. This year's ticket sales are still up about 3% vs. 2012, while attendance has lifted 2% since last year.
While critics were lukewarm on "Taken 2," audiences enjoyed it, assigning the film an average grade of B+, according to market research firm CinemaScore. That's also the same grade that "Frankenweenie" — which was beloved by reviewers — received from opening-weekend moviegoers.
Co-financed by Fox and French writer-producer
The movie did brisk business this weekend largely because it appealed to a broad audience, appealing only slightly more to males than females (52% compared to 48%) and both young and old (56% were over the age of 25).
The robust opening for "Taken 2" further solidifies Neeson's draw as an action hero. After "Taken" grossed $226.8 million worldwide three years ago, the 60-year-old actor landed a handful of roles in other action flicks that performed well at the box office, including
"Frankenweenie" struggled to lure moviegoers away from another animated film at the box office this weekend —
In May, Burton's expensive
Disney spent $39 million to produce Burton's latest film, which was spawned from a 1984 short he made about a boy who revives his dead dog through a
After receiving an A CinemaScore upon its debut last weekend, "Pitch Perfect" benefited from strong word-of-mouth as it expanded into 2,770 theaters. The film about a competitive college singing group should be a financial winner for Universal Pictures, which co-financed the movie for $17 million with Gold Circle Films. It's unclear if the movie will perform well overseas, however, as it launched in New Zealand this weekend and came in No. 4 at the local box office.
[Updated 11:39 a.m. Oct. 7: Overseas, "Taken 2" got off to a good start as well. Playing in 50 foreign markets, the movie grossed $55 million this weekend. The movie performed best in the United Kingdom, where it raked in $12.1 million, but it also did well in Besson's native France. The picture has yet to debut in nine international countries, including Germany and Italy.
Here are the top 10 movies at the domestic box office, according to studio estimates and Hollywood.com:
1. "Taken 2" (Fox/EuropaCorp): Opened with $50 million. $55 million overseas in 50 foreign markets. International total: $67 million.
2. "Hotel Transylvania" (
3. "Pitch Perfect" (Universal/Gold Circle): $14.7 million upon its nationwide expansion. Domestic total: $21.6 million. $480,000 overseas in one foreign market.
5. "Frankenweenie" (Disney): Opened with $11.5 million.
6. "End of Watch" (Open Road/Emmett/Furla/Exclusive): $4 million on its third weekend, down 49%. Domestic total: $32.8 million.
7. "Trouble With the Curve" (Warner Bros.): $3.9 million on its third weekend, down 47%. Domestic total: $29.7 million.
8. "House at the End of the Street" (Relativity/FilmNation/A Bigger Boat): $3.7 million on its third weekend, down 48%. Domestic total: $27.5 million.
9. "The Master" (Weinstein Co.): $1.8 million on its fourth weekend, down 31%. Domestic total: $12.3 million.
10. "Finding Nemo 3D" (Disney): $1.6 million on its fourth weekend, down 61%. Domestic total: $39 million. $600,000 overseas in 21 foreign markets. International total: $11.6 million.]